Given the challenges posed by climate change, several changes are imminent in the national energy mix. To achieve net zero goals the quicker we take proactive shifts the better. In fact, disruption and turbulence is to be expected in transportation, power generation and clean energy transition.
The International Energy Agency World Energy Outlook (WEO) for 2023 expects several changes by 2030. To quote the report: “The energy system in 2030 is projected to see clean technologies play a significantly greater role with almost 10 times as many electric cars on the road worldwide, solar PV generating more electricity than the entire US power system does currently, the renewables’ share of the global electricity mix nearing 50 per cent, up from around 30 per cent today, heat pumps and other electric heating systems outselling fossil fuel boilers globally. Significantly, three times as much investment will be going into new offshore wind projects than into new coal-and gas-fired power plants.”
In a collective effort to achieve 2030 goals, the WEO 2023 proposes five key steps. It calls for tripling global renewable capacity; doubling the rate of energy efficiency improvements; slashing methane emissions from fossil fuel operations by 75 per cent; innovative, large-scale financing mechanisms to triple clean energy investments in emerging and developing economies; and measures to ensure an orderly decline in the use of fossil fuels, including an end to new approvals of unabated coal-fired power plants.
Notes Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General, International Solar Alliance: “The report further attests that a substantial upswing in solar energy investments is imperative. Annual investments in solar energy must be ramped up nearly three times to achieve the net-zero target by 2030. The annual global investment in energy transition technologies has exceeded $1 trillion for the first time, hitting a new record level of $1.1 trillion in 2022. These investments have been dominated by solar and renewables, closely followed by investments in electric transport. The EV sector grew to around $470 billion (up by 54 per cent) globally. This is set to grow, along with investment in new technologies such as green hydrogen.”
The transition to clean energy is happening worldwide and it’s unstoppable. It’s not a question of ‘if’, it’s just a matter of ‘how soon’ – and the sooner the better for all of us,” says Fatih Birol, International Energy Agency Executive Director, in the report. “Governments, companies and investors need to get behind clean energy transitions rather than hindering them. There are immense benefits on offer, including new industrial opportunities and jobs, greater energy security, cleaner air, universal energy access and a safer climate for everyone.”
India is projected to have the largest energy demand growth for any country in the world over the next three decades. With a net zero emission target by 2070, it aims to have 50 per cent of power generation capacity fuelled by non-fossil sources by 2030. It is seeking to develop a Green Energy Corridor and a pathway for a carbon credit trading scheme. The production linked incentives (PLIs) for new manufacturing capacity of solar PV modules and batteries and the National Green Hydrogen Mission targeting low-emissions hydrogen production capacity hold immense potential. It has now become an importer of modern clean energy technologies as it scales up solar and wind power generation capacity.
“In the stated policies scenario, investments in clean energy in India will double to $120 billion by 2030 from $60 billion in 2022. However, to achieve India’s net zero emissions target by 2070, the country needs to nearly triple the investment per year by 2030. Likewise in the current pathway, India’s carbon emissions are expected to rise nearly 30 per cent by 2050 from the 2022 level. To be on target for 2070, all announced policies have to be implemented which could help reduce carbon emissions by 40 per cent from current levels by 2050,” says Charith Konda, Energy Finance Analyst, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.
While India expects to meet its 2030 target to ensure half of its electricity capacity be non-fossil well before the end of the decade, it will have to take on the rapidly emerging challenges, coming disruptions and shifts in the energy mix.